Newspaper article Daily News (Warwick, Australia)

Finals Time Is Highlight of the Year for Football Fans NRL TIPS; with Peter NolanEels Development Manager

Newspaper article Daily News (Warwick, Australia)

Finals Time Is Highlight of the Year for Football Fans NRL TIPS; with Peter NolanEels Development Manager

Article excerpt

I KNOW I always say this about semi-final time but it really is the best time of the year in footy.

The weather starts to warm up, the best eight teams are normally left playing and the pressure of sudden death can really hit home for most players.

You will hear most of the coaches saying it is a new season and it is, but the simple facts are you do not do a whole lot different in how you prepare your team from what has worked well for you during the season.

Sure, you obviously back off a lot of the fitness work. If they are not fit now, you are not going to get them ready in three weeks, so all of the hard slog on the training paddock is finished.

As for team tactics, not a lot will change there.

The Dragons, for example, will rely on their left-edge attack, the Tigers will look for Benji and Farah to conjure up most of their plays.

Not much will change on that front for most of the teams.

The availability of your best players is important at this time of the year as well. The loss of Adam Blair, Glenn Stewart and Sam Thaiday are killer blows to their individual teams.

You just can't replace edge forwards like these three overnight.

They can all play 80 minutes, they are genuine rep players and will all be missed.

In saying that, where coaches can get the edge at this time of the year is with their man-management skills during the finals Co how players handle sudden-death situations, how they feel Co are they sticking to their routines, are they concentrating on their individual preparations, how are they coping with this pressure.

That is why some coaches get the job done in the big games and some don't.

The premiers are always the best defenders, so that is another all-important part of the game coaches look towards with their on-field performances.

As I said before, it is a great time of the year, the fortunes of all the teams can change in a heartbeat.

The competition is wide open at the moment.

Tigers v Dragons

I HAVE a feeling these two teams could meet again at some stage.

I am not sure if that is possible but they just look like the two teams who are really strong at the moment in regards to player availability and they both have some genuine rep-class players in their ranks. …

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